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Apple Chutney When our vegetable garden begins slowing down, we begin apple season. We harvest our own apples, visit friends who have apple trees, and gather apples from wild trees and abandoned orchards. It’s apple time early in the morning before work, late at night when we return home, and on our day off. We dry dehydrators full of apples and line our shelves with many glass jars full of delicious apple… Read More

In this installment of “Our Growing Roots: Real Food, Real Connection,” Cheryl explores how to create simple, food-based connections during the cold winter months as she shares some of her favorite family-friendly slow cooker recipes.

Cooking shows are robbed of their central sensory features – the ability to smell and taste the food being prepared. To compensate, they have to create a full-spectrum visual and audio show that captures and keeps the audience’s interest. How do they do it? By treating the viewers like toddlers.

Dane writes, “My standard challenge is this: if you can read every ingredient on the box (for the younger kids), and identify what it is (older kids), it counts as food. Anything else is Not Food (even if it is tasty and okay to eat sometimes!). In this story, students Ethan and Robbie learn how to turn a “not-food” treat into a “real-food” drink.” Read more in this month’s column, “Soup’s On: Stirring Up Connections in the Kitchen”

When kids are trusted – really trusted – with true responsibility, they rise to the occasion. They will always know if you’re holding back, or if you’re counting on them to mess up. But the moments I’ve connected most deeply with kids in the kitchen are the moments in which I was just a tiny bit nervous – and trusted them anyway.

This month in “Soup’s On: Stirring Up Connections in the Kitchen,” Dane continues the spotlight on picky eaters. The conversation continues by taking a look at youth and young adults, and how NOT to turn dinnertime into a battlefield of exasperation.

Last month, Dane tackled some of the reasons behind picky eating in her debut post to our newest column, “Soup’s On: Stirring Up Connections in the Kitchen.” This month, she’s looking at strategies for the young picky eater – and how you can help broaden their horizons AND maintain your sanity!

Where does picky eating come from? Dealing with picky eaters can be a challenge for the omnivorous or adventurous cook. This month in the debut of “Soup’s On: Stirring Up Connections in the Kitchen,” Dane Kuttler explores some of the reasons some folks keep a limited diet – and how we can address those needs and help them expand their tastes! Dane is Hilltown Families newest Contributing Writer and Director of the Julia Poppins School of Cooking. Be sure to check out her monthly column on the last Wednesday of every month!

Fiddleheads are an enigma. These unusual looking greens when handled properly in the kitchen can unleash a joyous culinary moment! Read on and see about the Fiddlehead Arugula Salad that YOU can make for your family, getting your kids excited about eating local food! Let us know how it goes!

Brian Alberg, Executive Chef at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, shares his recipe for Rosemary Popovers, a pastry that is rich in history and delicious at any meal. Read about the history of the popover, and it’s predecessor, Yorkshire pudding, and print out Brian’s recipe to cook up for your family dinner tonight!

Roasted Beet Salad Wow, what a wacky growing season this has been! The extremes we’ve been experiencing are challenging. From drought to flooding, cold to heat and heat to cold, the conditions this season have been erratic and stressful to the plants. Our local farmers need our support to weather difficult growing seasons. Look for locally grown produce at locally owned markets and frequent many of the area farmers’ markets. Despite the… Read More

Tasting the Evergreens Life in Western MA has its many pleasures. So many times I feel really lucky to live where I do and to be surrounded by so much beauty. The mountains, the rivers, the farmland, the flora and the fauna are just some of the things I appreciate. I live in the Pioneer Valley and I am always trying to find ways to connect with my surroundings. I have a… Read More

Mushroom Barley Soup I wake up in the morning thinking of the billowing steam from maple sap boiling. I love going to sugar houses to see the dramatic plumes of steam rising, to smell the sweet maple aroma, to taste the first of the season’s delicate, delicious syrup…to experience the promise of spring again. My seasonal rhythms are tied to sugarin’; it marks the final gasps of winter and the arrival of… Read More

Southern Biscuits Enjoyed with Local Western MA Ingredients Biscuits Here’s something you can make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack…how versatile is that!  Biscuits are great any time of day.  They taste best slathered with butter, and even better with local honey or your favorite fruity jam.  When I first met Amy, my choice of bread to go with any meal was a crusty Italian/French-type bread or a dense, whole grain… Read More

Indian Potato Fritters Potatoes Bonda Amy and I were in local food heaven! We were visiting her folks on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It is incredulous to everyone that I chose to go to every farmers’ market within two hours, rather than go for another walk on the gorgeous, tropical-blue-water-white-sand-almost-empty-of-people beach. We did all spend a lot of time together in the woods and salt marshes, watching birds and enjoying the… Read More

Roasted Sweet Potato Lasagne Amy might be a southerner by heart and spirit, but she and I are Yankees by practice; we light our first fire as late into the season as we can bear. This necessitates cooking on as many burners (we have 8!) and in as many ovens (we have 2) as possible when we are home and awake for more than a couple of hours.  Fortunately, we still have a… Read More

Quick and Cozy Spicy Chickpeas and Simple Couscous The diminishing afternoon/evening light seems to get my stomach rumbling for dinner much earlier than our usual late night dinner hour. When I tune into my natural rhythms, my body yearns for meals earlier and sleep much earlier than I am accustomed to. I look forward to tuning in more deeply this winter, listening to and responding to the inner callings that are in… Read More

Let’s Bake Cookies! Berkshire Museum to Host Cookie Contest During Holiday Season Saturday, December 8th in Pittsfield Does your family have a favorite and treasured holiday cookie recipe that has been passed down through the generations? Show it off by entering your family recipe in the Berkshire Museum’s cookie contest! The event, which is part of a launch celebration for local author Gina Hyams’ Christmas Cookie Contest in a Box: Everything You… Read More

Inspiration for family dinner night… SOUP! Last year, Alice shared two of her favorite fall soups in her column, “In the Kitchen with Alice.” Download her recipes for Tomatillo and Fresh Corn Soup and Mediterranean White Bean Soup… then prepare a fresh harvest meal for your family!

For the Love of Cabbage Stuffed Cabbage & Garden Tomato Sauce The weather is softly leaning toward autumn. Though my garden is full of summer’s light and fresh bounty (tomatoes, peppers, basil, zucchini, greens, beans, and dozens of other late summer delights), my appetite begins to lean toward hearty fare. This Italian-inspired rendition of Eastern European Stuffed Cabbage fits the bill for this seasonal transition time, prepared with Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce…. Read More

Pesto and Variations The drought, deer, and heat have slowed down our garden quite a bit, but the list of chores is still long and the available time is still short. We find ourselves creating quick meals from the garden. Pasta with one of many possible pestos is a standard. We have a great variety of greens in our garden, and we’ll make pesto with combinations of basil, arugula, cilantro, mint, chard,… Read More

Sauteed Sugar Snaps and Radishes I’ve so enjoyed the first of this season’s local cukes. At the Creamery, we have the first tomatoes and the first cukes, picked fresh from the Fydenkevez Farm in the valley. I peel the cukes, cut off big chunks, and generously salt them before popping them into my mouth and singing praises. I love the crisp freshness and the bright flavor. Add sliced or chopped tomatoes cut… Read More

Spring Garden: What to do with Chives, Rhubarb & Asparagus CHIVE FLOWER VINEGAR I begin the season of preparing herbal vinegars with Chive Flower Vinegar. We pick handfuls of beautiful, spiky purple chive flowers. We pull the petals off some of the plants to decorate our dinner salad, but the rest get stuffed into a mason jar, covered with apple cider vinegar that we made last fall, and left to brew for… Read More

Fiddlehead Arugula Salad One of the most joyous culinary moments of the year for me is the arrival of the season’s first fiddleheads. It’s among the first of the “just-picked” cooking rituals that will continue to unfold until late autumn. Each year I repeat the simplest of preparation techniques for my first fiddleheads of the season: blanch (cook in boiling water) for 4–5 minutes; drain well; sauté briefly with butter or olive… Read More

Maple Flan We were given some fresh eggs by a friend with chickens. The variety of colors, shapes, and sizes invite inspiration. Hmm … we have some Taproot Commons Farm raw milk to use up. Amy’s going to be happy tonight! Whatever we have for dinner, we are going to end our meal with creamy, delicious Maple Flan. Everything is local except for the vanilla and the sugar for melting into caramel…. Read More

Share a Recipe and Win a Breakfast Giveaway Package Including Groceries, Coffee & Maple Syrup How does food bring your family together?  Maybe you enjoy cooking with your kids, sharing family meals together, shopping for locally grown and/or produced foods, exchanging stories at the kitchen table… however it is that food interweaves into your family one thing is certain, food has a way of bringing families together both in the kitchen and… Read More

Local Food Heaven I was like a kid in a candy store, or, as my Uncle Mike used to say, “like a mosquito in a nudist colony”! I spent Saturday at Sarasota Farmers Market, buying bags (my own cloth bags of course!) of just-picked produce from local organic farmers located in Southwest Florida. I came home with sacks of oranges (several varieties), grapefruit, limes, and lemons. I got just-picked strawberries (not as… Read More

Soups to Warm Your Tummy on a Cold February Day CBS SOUP Winter is finally upon us (where is the snow?!?), and it’s time for some hearty, warming, comforting foods. I enjoy cooking soups when it’s cold outside because they often take quite a while to cook (helping to heat our house!). I often bake bread to accompany the soup (helping to heat our house!) and they usually don’t require a lot… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Is your garden or CSA loading you up with fresh veggies? Are the heirloom tomatoes coming in yet? What’s your families favorite summer dish made with fresh local produce? Marianne Bullock responds: Caprese salad – mozzarella basil tomatoes & salt and pepper! Nancy Cavillones responds: Farro salad with mozzarella and tomatoes, or feta and zucchini! Swansea Benham Bleicher responds: Braised kale (with tamari, garlic, and olive oil). Laura LeClair… Read More

Strawbarb Rhuberry Fest at Sheep Hill Saturday, June 5th in Williamstown The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation invites home bakers to submit rhubarb-inspired creations to its annual Strawbarb and Rhuberry celebration on Saturday June 5th from 3-5 PM at the WRLF’s Sheep Hill headquarters in Williamstown. Rhubarb Ginger muffins, Strawberry Rhubarb pie, Rhubarb Crumble are a few of the offerings that might be available. Enter your families favorite rhubarb/strawberry dish for a chance… Read More

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